Andrew Ziemke  |  Inbound/Outbound Marketing  |  5 minute read

What to Look for When Hiring an Inbound Marketing Agency

Marketing seems to evolve at the speed of light. With ever-changing technology and information available any time of day at our fingertips, it’s difficult for businesses to keep a pulse on the latest marketing trends, much less implement a strategic marketing plan that delivers a return that is worth the investment.

In a market where resources are limitedin time and workforcehiring an inbound marketing agency makes sense. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why you would want to choose a marketing partner.

Why to Consider Hiring an Inbound Marketing Agency

  • A digital marketing strategy is a must-have for any business, including manufacturers. But there are many channels on which to focus your attention, and not all may be right for your business needs. Plus, as we said, it’s difficult to keep up with the ever-changing landscape that is digital marketing. Search engines and social platforms continuously evolve, seeming to change best practice rules overnight. An inbound marketing agency team keeps up with the latest trends and regularly hones their skills, helping ensure marketing campaigns perform at their best.
  • A marketing partner can bring a fresh eye to your business. You and your staff are ingrained in the day-to-day operations, and you certainly know the problems you are trying to solve. Sharing your story with an outside firm that brings diversity in knowledge and skill can provide a different viewpoint, not to mention creative solutions, you may not have considered.
  • An inbound marketing firm is made up of people who are skilled in many areas. You may have a marketing associate who is a top-notch writer but doesn’t understand search engine marketing, or vice versa. An inbound marketing agency can provide a well-rounded team that is skilled in many areas of digital marketing, as well as traditional marketing. The team would be a perfect complement to the skills you already have in house.
  • Inbound marketing firms keep an eye on results. After all, if the firm doesn’t deliver results, it probably won't have your business. Plus, because the firm’s team is so laser-focused on performance, they are agile, and able to make changes when something isn’t working the way it should.

Top 10 Tips for Hiring an Inbound Marketing Agency 

If you’ve decided hiring an inbound marketing agency is the right move for your business, we've developed a Top 10 list of what to consider before and during the vetting process.

1. Determine your business's KPIs and how marketing can help your goals

Knowing what you want to accomplish will help your marketing partner develop and track the right metrics.

2. Look for a company that caters to your industry

Manufacturers have a specific set of needs. When it comes to marketing, you need a team who understands the technical aspect of your business, how purchasing decisions are made, and how to guide and nurture buyers through the long decision-making process. If you are looking for a recruitment marketing plan, your partner needs to understand the intricacies of hiring skilled manufacturing employees and where to find them.

3. Do they do what they say they do?

Take a look at their own marketing. Is the firm actively engaging in social media? Does it blog and offer other educational content? Is their website easy to navigate with information that helps you make a decision? If an inbound marketing agency isn’t doing for itself what it says it'll do for you, you may want to look elsewhere.

4. Make sure your partner benchmarks the performance of your marketing channels

Before any work starts—maybe even before you sign an agreement—the inbound marketing firm should request access to analytics from your digital marketing channels, including your website, social platforms, and email marketing campaigns. Without a benchmark, you will not be able to judge success.

5. Keep an Open Mind

You may go into an introductory meeting with an inbound marketing agency thinking you need one thing. But through discussion, you may realize you need something else. This could happen because the marketing team brings that different perspective with the ability to ferret out problems or opportunities you may have missed.

6. Are they a good match for your team?

Go into an introductory meeting with the same mindset you would an employee interview. Does the team fit your culture? Are they willing to collaborate and, if needed, train your staff so that campaigns reach peak performance faster?

7. Get references

Ask the prospective agency for references of businesses they’ve worked with. Ask vendors or professional acquaintances if they have worked with the firm or know someone who has. Ask for samples of their work. Like any business relationship, it’ll pay to do your homework.

8. Ensure transparency

When hiring an inbound marketing agency, you need to ask for performance measures. Determine how often you would like to receive performance reports and what type of data you’d like shared.

9. Get a detailed agreement

Make sure the firm outlines what you are getting for the cost. Each service should be itemized. Request that scope changes be approved before work continues.

10. Understand the ROI

Ask about expectations for return on investment and a timeline for when the goals are expected to be reached. The marketing plan’s goals should align with your business goals.

How a Partner can Amp up Your Digital Marketing and Sales

Nobody may appreciate a marketing partner more than your sales team. An inbound marketing firm can help deliver the tools that sales associates need to get more leads and close more deals. Here are just a few of the areas where an inbound marketing partner can shine when it comes to digital marketing and sales enablement:

SEO:

Search engine optimization powers your website to rank higher in search so that you’ll be found when your ideal customer is on the hunt for product information or to find a new supplier (hopefully you!). With a combination of keyword-rich, quality copy and a well-structured website, SEO brings qualified leads to your door for your sales team to nurture through the buying process.

Content marketing:

Content marketing and SEO go hand-in-hand. This is where keyword research can tell you what your customers are searching for and what questions they may have about your product or industry. Then, you can deliver answers through blogs, whitepapers, e-books, and case studies. Content marketing may not lead to direct sales, but it is a sales enablement tool that can boost brand awareness and attract prospectsand current customersto your website, where they will learn more about what you offer.

Social media marketing:

There are myriad ways social media can help your sales team. With social advertising, you can promote your products to targeted audiences on platforms where they are most likely to spend time. Nurture customers by sharing those pieces of your content marketing plan. Engage with your customers by commenting on their posts or seeking input through your posts.

Search engine marketing (SEM):

When businesses place pay-per-click (PPC) ads like the ones you see on a Google search results page, that’s search engine marketing. SEM is a highly effective sales tool because, when done well, it can attract prospects who are looking for exactly what you have to offer. Getting the most leads at the lowest cost can be complicated in SEM, so it’s best to ask your inbound marketing agency for help.

Email marketing:

Email marketing is a great tool for communicating with customers at every stage of the buying journey, including after the sale. It’s not only easy and cost-effective, but it also offers one of the highest returns on investment. Nearly 60% of B2B marketers say email is the top marketing channel for revenue generation.

Hiring an inbound marketing agency isn't for day-to-day marketing tasks, like updating web copy. It's about hiring a team who takes a consultative approach to your marketing to move the sales needle.

At Imaginasium, our approach is centered around just one question: What is the goal? The best plan of action depends on the goal. Not every business has the same goals. Therefore, every business will have its own strategic marketing plan to support sales enablement and business growth. Marketing to a wide audience is a waste of time and money. Every step we take with an individual client is made with intention so we can all say, “Goal achieved!”

What are you waiting for? Let’s get started!

Andrew

Andrew Ziemke

As an account strategist at Imaginasium, Andrew enjoys guiding strategic direction, vision, growth, and performance. Andrew's attention to detail and vast industry knowledge align with his passion for creating unforgettable experiences for brands. Andrew's B2B and B2C knowledge continuously add to the team as he advances Imaginasium as a whole.


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